“Becoming All God Created You to Be”
Many of you probably know his story. He grew up in a Catholic family in a small town in Illinois. He was one of 14 children. And he had a dream for his life … a really big dream.
But for all his life he was told he didn't have a chance … too many things were working against him. He was rather small built and he didn’t do very well academically. He was only 5'6" and graduated third in his class - third from the bottom, that is!
So after high school he went into the Navy and then spent four years working a union job at a steel mill. It was a good job - secure, good benefits, decent pay. But something kept telling him it just wasn’t right for him. There was something else to do with his life. You see, he wanted to play football. Rudy wanted to play football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame!
Of course, it was a ridiculous dream, and everyone told him so. Still, he wouldn’t let it go. Finally, Rudy made the most important decision of his life: he decided to intentionally take responsibility for himself … that no one else could live his life for him. So he quit his job and moved to South Bend.
Obviously nothing had changed for him academically and he was quickly denied admission to Notre Dame. So he enrolled at Holy Cross Junior College. At this point in his academic career, Rudy had never made anything better than a C! Yet, he threw himself into his studies, and made the necessary grades to eventually get accepted at Notre Dame.
After getting accepted at Notre Dame, he then faced his greatest challenge: trying out for the Fighting Irish football team. Being 5'6" and 190 pounds, he knew he didn't have a chance of making varsity – all he wanted was to make the squad. And against all odds, he made it - ahead of players who were bigger, faster, and stronger, simply because he had more heart.
For two years, Monday through Friday Rudy worked out with one of
the greatest teams in college football history. Each Saturday, the best 60 players suited up … as Rudy could only watch from the game from the stands, just like any other fan. But in the last home game of his senior year, Rudy was given the chance to suit up.
What seemed impossible had become a reality. Rudy's hard work and intense enthusiasm had made him into something of a local hero among the other players, the students, and even the fans in South Bend. Toward the end of the game, with Notre Dame leading by more than a touchdown, the players and fans began chanting for him." (Clip)
Coach Devine sent Rudy in to play with 27 seconds left to play. On the last play of the game, Rudy broke through the line and sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback. The Fighting Irish players spontaneously lifted Rudy to their shoulders and carried him off the field.
What a great story of a young man who refused to let people … or circumstances stand in the way of pursuing his dream. With every resource he had, with unimaginable passion, and with unwavering commitment, he beat the odds and saw that dream come true.
And you know, I think that’s how God intends for each of us to live our lives as well… with passion and commitment, striving with everything that we have to become all that God created us to be!! So much of life can be wasted if we just drift along without purpose or direction.
You know friends, I really do believe that God wants each of us to discover his desire and purpose for our lives … and then to pursue it with everything we have and all that we are. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul whole-heartedly agrees … as he tells us …
”We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The problem is, there are a whole lot of things in this life that work against those plans that God has in mind for us to do.
This morning I’d like for us to take a few minutes to consider some of those obstacles and how we can overcome them. To do that, we take a look at our text from Mark chapter 6, where Jesus himself confronts some of those very same obstacles to following God’s will that we face today.
Jesus is still in the early stages of his ministry. He had started to gain some notoriety. Then he visits his hometown where he’s invited to speak at the synagogue. When he does, the people are shocked by the way that he speaks with such authority.
"Who does he think he is? Isn't he the carpenter’s boy? Isn't this
the son of Mary? Don't we know his brothers and sisters?" The people are outraged … to which Jesus responds, "Only in his hometown is a prophet without honor." Then the bible says that he didn’t perform many miracles there because of their unbelief.
As we think about how Jesus responds to this situation, I think there are some lessons we can learn about becoming all that God created us to be … about discovering God’s will for our lives … and following it.
First of all, it seems to me that Jesus’ actions are saying to us
DON’T LET OTHERS DEFINE WHO YOU ARE. (vs 3a )
You see, the people in Jesus’ hometown had a very specific idea about who they thought Jesus was. They only saw him from a certain perspective. They could only see him as a carpenter, as the son of Mary, as the kid down the street. That’s all they could see in him.
But Jesus saw himself much differently. He saw himself for who he really was … God's Son, the Messiah, the one who would die for the sins of the world. And so he simply refused to let himself be defined by people who really didn't know nor understand him.
And don’t we find this to pretty much be true in our lives as well?
I’d venture to say there are people in your life who think they know who you are. But more often than not, their vision of who you are tends to not take into account all the potential that God has placed within you.
Maybe you know this guy’s story. He was just a busboy in a restaurant in Nashville, but he had a pretty big dream. And so he kept pestering the house band to let him play. The band members laughed at him to his face. They saw him as just a busboy, and a big hick.
But that busboy saw himself differently. He saw himself as a musician, as a country music superstar. So he refused to let other people define him. . Today, most of us would recognize that busboy as Randy Travis.
You see, most people only see us for who we are at that moment, or perhaps by the things we’ve done in the past. But God sees us in a different way. GOD SEES YOU FOR WHO HE CREATED YOU TO BE!
In describing those who’ve come to Christ, the Apostle Peter reminds us, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
So don’t let others define who you are. See yourself for who you really are. In Christ you are chosen, because you belong to God! Live your life the way God intended it! Become all that God created you to be! Don’t let anyone else hold you back or define who you are!
From Jesus’ encounter in his hometown, we also can also pick up on a second very important element in becoming who God created us to be. And that is DON’T LET OTHERS DETERMINE WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.
The second part of vs 3 says they took offense at Jesus. Why? Because what he was doing didn't fit their idea of what they thought he should be doing. So they judged him - they took offense at him.
How did Jesus respond? He said, in effect, "You don't get it. A prophet is accepted and honored everywhere but in his own hometown ... because you can’t see what I’m capable of doing."
David Edwards is an extremely gifted speaker. He speaks about 500 times a year to all kinds of groups.
Every Monday he flies to Houston, to lead the Metro Bible Study at First Baptist Church. Every Tuesday he leads a bible study in Oklahoma City; every Thursday he’s in Birmingham, Al.
On the days in between he speaks at churches, youth rallies, retreats, conventions … anywhere he gets the opportunity. And he truly is gifted!
But a lot of people underestimated David's abilities early on. He had epilepsy, dyslexia and other disabilities that caused doctors, counselors, and teachers to warn that he’d never be able to graduate from high school.
Yet, with great passion and commitment … and God’s help, David overcame his obstacles and graduated with honors ... and went on to college on a full academic scholarship. He simply refused to let others keep him from doing what God was calling him to do.
So be prepared. When it comes to following God’s will for your life, there’ll be some who won’t be able to see it in you. They may try to discourage you or even accuse you of selfish ambition. But if you sense God’s leading in your life, don’t listen to their negative talk. DO WHAT GOD IS CALLING YOU TO DO!
As the Apostle Paul was writing to the Christians in Philippi, he was facing tremendous opposition to doing what God had called him to do. Circumstances seemed to have him down. They though he had been beaten. But Paul knew what he was capable of with God’s help.
So with tremendous confidence he boldly proclaims, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Becoming what God created you to be means living life willing to confidently face even the most challenging times of life with confidence and passion. It means discovering God’s will and following after it.
And that means you can’t let others define who you are or judge what you should do as you seek after God’s will for your life. And so that simply means that you DON’T LET OTHERS HOLD YOU BACK. (vs 5-6)
Think about it. If Jesus had stayed in his home town of Nazareth,
he never would have accomplished what God had called him to do. It just wasn’t going to happen there because they though they knew who he was and what he should be doing.
Becoming what God is calling us to be sometimes requires us to realize when something isn’t working … and then moving on.
This happens in all kinds of situations in life. Sometimes moving on means finding a new job, or making a new set of friends, or going back to school, or giving up old habits, or … the list could go on and on. The point is, often times to become what God created you to be requires a new start.
A word of caution here. Don’t use this scripture as an excuse to just take the easy way out. Be sure that it’s God’s will for you to move on and not just you looking for an easy way out when things get tough.
But there are times when we just need have the courage to pick up and move forward. And when that happens, friends, We serve is a God who specializes in new beginnings! He’s the God of second chances … and third chances … and forth chances ….
A very familiar verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Past mistakes can be overcome. You don’t have to live under the condemnation of things gone by. With God’s help, you really can move on with your life! Don’t let others define who you are. Don’t let others determine what you should do. With God’s help, put the past behind you and move forward with your life!
The Apostle Paul tells us in Phil 3: 12, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
You know, Rudy could have spent the rest of his life working in that steel mill. He could have given in to who everyone though he was and settled for doing what everyone else thought he should be doing. He could have let them hold him back. But he didn’t. He chose to step out and become more than what anyone ever though he could become.
Likewise, Jesus could have stayed in Nazareth and given in to who everyone thought he was and settled for being just Mary’s son, the village carpenter. But he knew that God had something bigger planned for his life.
Jesus didn’t let anyone else define who he was or decide what he should be doing. He refused to let them hold him back. Certain of God’s leading on his life, he moved forward. And God’s will was accomplished through him in a mighty way!
And so it can be in our lives as well. God has placed so much potential in each of you. And how sad it is when you settle for less than what God created you to be. Understand that you will undoubtedly face obstacles as you strive to live out that potential … but so did Jesus!
So don’t let that hold you back. Live your life with passion, enthusiasm and commitment to God’s will for your life.
BECOME ALL GOD CREATED YOU TO BE! And who knows in what miraculous way God may choose to use your life. Only God knows! But for goodness sakes … don’t settle for less!